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Thinking Outside the Walls: Take Home Book Box Programs

Erie County, PA
Program Year: 2021

The Take Home Book Box Program at the Erie County Public Library (ECPL) has been a progressively effective means to maintain a level of programming and positively impact children’s and family literacy during 2020 and 2021. The Youth Services team at the Erie County Public Library had been accustomed to presenting upward of 15 children’s programs per week, prior to Stay At Home orders. However, with in-person programming on hiatus, the team has developed a take-home model, aptly named Book Boxes, which invites informal learning opportunities without the risk of gatherings or the need to return materials to a library branch during the COVID-19 pandemic.All Book Boxes contain a variant of a free book, STEM project(s), craft supplies, and activity suggestions for building literacy skills at home. In October alone, ECPL was able to reach more than 1,000 patrons with these box kit programs. Variants of these themed boxes have included non-fiction titles, tabletop gaming starter sets, and themed family topics, such as grieving. All kits and programs at ECPL are funded through the Friends of the Library, as well as through other local community partners.

Ms. Sheryl Thomas
Assistant Director